October 18, 2023

How Multifamily Property Owners Can Benefit From State and Federal Incentives for EV Charging

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7 Min. Read

It’s an ideal time for multifamily property owners and managers to capitalize on state and federal incentives to support the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, with a global shift toward sustainability and electrification helping to drive increased demand. Property owners can not only improve their property’s appeal to environmentally-conscious and technology-focused residents but also offset the costs of installation and maintenance with available funding and rebate programs.

With an overview of the critical incentives available to multifamily property owners, this article will serve as a quick guide to help you make the most of these programs and take advantage of the energy transition to build your business further and attract and retain tenants.

Understanding Available Incentives

Federal, state, local, and utility electric vehicle incentives are available, and the information around incentives is still developing as new regulations are implemented, funding is added, and additional programs are created to support the transition to a more resilient future for transportation. It is important to explore all available options before making your final decisions, and an EV charging expert can work alongside you in ensuring all program requirements are met to qualify for any available incentives.

Federal EV incentives

The most robust of the federal EV incentives is the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, available under Section 30 of the U.S. Tax Code. The new administration expanded these incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 and extended them for another ten years.

While the tax credit for individual EV chargers is capped at $1,000, the federal EV incentive for commercial projects (including by multifamily owners and managers) is 30% per charger, up to $100,000 per charger.

There are two significant conditions for this tax credit.

1. Labor employed on the job must meet specific labor requirements:

  • Workers must be paid the prevailing wage the U.S. Department of Labor defines, essentially, the average salary for a particular occupation in the specific area of the project.

  • Qualified apprentices must perform ten percent of the labor.

2. The project’s location must fall within an eligible census tract, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The definitions are somewhat technical, so always check with an expert to ensure your project will fall between the correct parameters.

The federal government additionally supports multifamily EV charging in low-income areas. However, if your property is in a low-income community, failure to meet these requirements will significantly reduce your tax credits to 6% of the project cost.

In addition to tax credits, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set aside $1 billion in funding for cash grants to finance sustainability programs for affordable housing, including implementing electrification technologies. Check with your expert advisor to confirm your project’s eligibility.

State and Local Incentives

States and local governments also offer EV incentives for multifamily properties, in the form of rebates or grants in many cases, for example:

  • California is the leader in electric car rebates by state and charging installation. It has set up a three-year, $1.4 billion program for rebates and other incentives for more EV charging in condos and apartments.

  • Illinois offers rebates of up to 80% of Level 2 or DCFC charger installation costs.

  • Through its Charge Ahead Colorado program, Colorado provides grants for community-based Level 2 and Level 3, or DCFC, EV charger installations. Grant amounts range from $4,500 per Level 2 charger under 19kW to up to $70,000 for DCFC dual port changers at 100kW+.

Keep in mind that many of these programs will have application deadlines for these incentives, so check with a trusted expert on your 2024 plans and ensure you stay on top of any application timelines for available programs in your area. Many of these programs have an established budget for supporting these projects, and it is best to take advantage of these opportunities while they are still readily available.

Additionally, many state and regional funding programs exist, so be sure to check the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) site for electric car rebates by state. The great news about state programs is that, in many cases, you can combine these savings with federal incentives for more significant total benefits.

Utility Program Examples

Utilities offer a wide array of incentives across the country. The practical way to understand utility electric vehicle incentive programs is to consider examples of robust programs such as Xcel Energy or Pacific Gas & Electric.

Xcel Energy’s Utility Program

Xcel Energy is Colorado’s leading utility and has a substantial presence in several other states. It currently offers a rebate of up to $8,500 per port for Level 2 chargers. To qualify, you must have participated within the last five years in Xcel’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Weatherization and Rebate Program or the federal Weatherization Assistance Program.

You can also qualify if you meet income requirements for either program or are in a Higher Emissions Community. For more information about other programs, check the DOE site.

PG&E’s Utility Program

PG&E converts incentives into action for priority communities, as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission California Air Resources Board.

For multifamily, small, and not-for-profit businesses, PG&E will install Level 1 or Level 2 chargers, provide two years of networking and software fees, and offer an operations and maintenance plan.

Infrastructure Requirements

Ensure that your electrical service, panels, and distribution meet the incentive programs’ requirements. Also, determine the critical inspection points, especially with regards to permits and any required completion certificates.

Accessibility

Incentive grantors will look to confirm that chargers are accessible to users. They’ll also determine whether distance and other barriers impede economically and physically disadvantaged users. By working with a certified electrician familiar with commercial electrification and EV charging station installation experience in multifamily communities, you can strategically determine where your EV chargers will be most accessible and convenient for community members and guests.

Documentation

When you apply for an incentive, you must demonstrate that you have met the grantor’s requirements by providing adequate documentation showing your community’s eligibility in all aspects of the program. It is equally important to maintain accurate documentation proving compliance with those requirements after you have been accepted by the program and throughout the project. Keeping clear organization of all relevant and required documentation will save you time and ensure there are no delays in funding or other incentives.

Planning for a Successful Installation

Securing reliable installation partners for streamlined project management is a must. You should consult lenders for financing support in EV charging projects. Again, seeking expert advice is crucial due to recent announcements and ensuring qualified partners support your maintenance and operations.

Find Installation Partners

Finding a reliable contractor to handle projects can be challenging, especially if you own or operate multiple communities across several regions or states. Supplier consolidation saves time and billing administration effort, and provides price leverage and control over the quality of work on your property.

Obtain Financing Support

You may still need additional financing support even with available financial incentives for EV charging and other multifamily electrification projects. Check with your lender on their willingness to work with you on EV charging projects.

Established by the Federal Government with $20 billion through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to finance things like EV charging in disadvantaged areas, the Green Bank is essentially a funding vehicle that should also be a consideration for additional electrification financing. The Green Bank consists of two major initiatives:

  • $14 billion in the National Clean Investment Fund flowing to three national clean energy financing institutions.

  • $6 billion to the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, a group of non-profits dedicated to advancing clean energy in disadvantaged areas.

This initiative is relatively new, announced in July 2023, so details remain to be completely finalized.

Make Ongoing Operations and Maintenance Plans

You will need maintenance and operations support after completion. Selecting an installation partner who can provide those services well makes the most sense since it ensures continuity and accountability. They can also help you find incentives to cover maintenance and operations costs.

Make Qmerit Your Source for Incentives Information

Incentives are incredibly complex and evolving, and the vast array of incentives can be a daunting maze to negotiate successfully. Other financing solutions are now materializing. Effective operations management and maintenance are crucial for ongoing resident satisfaction.

You can make your projects simpler to manage and administer, especially if you have multiple sites nationwide, by consolidating to a single provider, also simplifying and streamlining your billing and control.

Finding trained, reliable electrical contractors who are EV savvy is crucial to minimizing project risks but can be challenging to ensure they are qualified, experienced, and appropriately background-checked, insured, and licensed. The good news is that Qmerit can help.

As the most trusted network of qualified and certified electricians, Qmerit will work with you to enhance your multifamily property’s appeal and help you take advantage of state and federal electric vehicle incentives for EV charging infrastructure. With a deep knowledge of incentives and financing and the largest network of EV charging station experts in North America, Qmerit will make building and maintaining your EV charging projects easy.

Contact Qmerit today to discuss how we can help you navigate incentive programs and maximize the benefits for your property. Find reliable, qualified electricians across North America with a trusted partner like Qmerit.

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification